THE President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo has alleged that the country Nigeria has been treating the Igbo people as conquered minority.
In a lecture with theme: ”The Problems Confronting Governance In Today’s Nigeria” at Ahiajoku Center, Owerri, Imo State, Nwodo mentioned the issue of the Igbo being treated as a conquered people when he was emphasising on the number of military/police checkpoints in Igboland, pointing out that as a result of that, the level of extortion has remained worrisome.
He lamented that since 1970, South-east has not produced a president and that for 49 years, the Igbo people have occupied the position of the Chief of Army Staff only once. However, in proffering solution, he first of all warned that to get it right in the country, there is urgent need to holistically restructure Nigeria.
“Speaking from the Igbo point of view, since the end of Nigerian civil war, no Igbo man has been allowed to become the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, either in military conspired coups or through major political party nomination elections.
The highest position the Igbo man has attained since 1970 is the position of vice-president, which the late Dr. Alex Ekwueme occupied between 1979 and 1983. In 49 years under review, only one Igbo man has been Chief of Army Staff, the second to occupy that position since Nigeria’s independence. Two Igbo men became Inspectors General of Police and lasted for only short spans. An Igbo man became Comptroller-General of Customs and lasted for three months. It has been held in many quarters that the reason for the coup of 1983 was to forestall the possibility of an Igbo man in the person of Dr. Ekwueme becoming the president of Nigeria.
He pointed out that since 1979, the north has held the position of the President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces eight times in a cumulative period spanning over seven tenures, while the west, has held it for four times and the southern minorities once. “Like all Nigerian political phenomenon, the areas from which the president came from have had unprecedented exposure to high political patronage and offices. Most dominant of these patronages has been in appointments into positions in the Armed Forces.”
Continuing, “the greatest victim in this nepotic style of rulership became the Southaast. We in the Southeast of the six geopolitical zones had the least number of states and local governments and we receive therefore the least of federally distributed revenue. Our state governments are technically impoverished. Our ability to influence decisions at national conventions of political parties was consequently sequestrated. To make matters worse, the military without offering any reason designed a new constitution that gave exclusive control of our mineral and natural resources to the Federal Government in violation of the agreement of the component parts of the federation between 1944-1963 to constitute one country.”
He stressed that the federation was formed on the basis of independent and autonomous regions and a loose federal government. “The constitution we were given by the military is not autochthonous.
It was not ratified by the people either in a reference or in a mass vote. In law and in political norm, it is a no-starter.” He added that the constitution he described as being promulgated by the military, “was imposed on the people by force and any attempt to oppose it is viewed by the powers-that-be as treasonable. This is not politics. This violates human rights; this violates self-determination and imposes hegemony on some sections of the country.”